A few months after the City Island Civic Association invited NYC Comptroller John Liu to be their featured speaker and special guest, two of his former associates have been convicted in a scheme to illegally raise campaign funds.
The two defendants were charged as a result of an undercover investigation of the campaign fundraising for NYC Comptroller John Liu, who is now running for mayor as a Democrat. A NYC jury delivered their verdicts on the first full day of deliberations.
The five men and seven women jury determined that Liu's two associates, ex-campaign treasurer Jia "Jenny" Hou and former fundraiser Xing "Oliver" Wu Pan had plotted to cheat the city out of campaign matching funds and lied about it.
City Island Civic Association e-mailed City Island Images the following, concerning Mr. Liu invitation “just to clarify, when Mr. Liu came to address the Civic in January, it was in his capacity as NYC Comptroller. As you may know, he did not announce for another two months.” However the statement fails to mention that the government's investigation was already underway.
The US Attorney's Office issued the following statement. “As the jury found, Jia Hou and Oliver Pan stuck a knife into the heart of New York City’s campaign finance law by violating the prohibition against illegal campaign contributions, all to corruptly advantage the campaign of a candidate for city-wide office. Cases like this give the people of New York yet another reason to be troubled by the electoral process, and they have aright to demand fair, open, and honest elections untainted by cynical subversion of campaign finance laws. With these convictions, it is our hope that some measure of the public’s confidence can be restored. We will continue our efforts to stamp out public corruption wherever we find it. We thank the jury for their time and service, and the outstanding prosecutors who so ably tried this case.”
These charges followed a federal investigation that lasted several years, which included 10 wiretaps on at least six phones linked to Mr. Liu.
You decide if the City Island Civic Association should have issued their formal invitation, while this investigation was ongoing. Furthermore the local City Island paper only comes out 10 times a year and therefore did not publish the story two months, which theoretically gave their reporter plenty of time to research the story, but never even mentioned the investigation in the March 2013 article, which appeared on page three.
Mr. Liu was never charged and has denied any wrongdoing, but he has been dealt a major blow in his battle with the feds. Hou and Pan had pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and attempted wire fraud; Hou also pleaded not guilty to obstructing justice and making false statements. Both are expected to appeal the verdict.
During the trial, prosecutors reportedly tried portray Liu as condoning questionable practices designed to maximize fund-raising. The judge is expected to sentence the two on Sept. 20th.